Daisy attended the press conference for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ on December 4, 2015 in Los Angeles.

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REFINERY – It would be reasonable to assume that after landing a coveted role in the most anticipated sequel (perhaps) ever, a young actor might want to live it up. Throw a rager. Treat everyone she knows to shots. At least pop open a bottle of champagne.

Daisy Ridley did none of the above. When the London-native learned that she had been cast as Rey, one of the leads in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she didn’t so much as indulge in a bit of fist-pumping in the privacy of her own bedroom. “I didn’t celebrate,” she says. “I thought I was going to lose the part the whole time. Honestly, I was like, they’ve made a terrible mistake. I went for brunch the next day with my agents, and they were celebrating. I just felt sick and, like, I didn’t want to be there. It’s just so much to process.”

At just 23, Ridley is about to travel through the hyperspace of fame at speeds the Millennium Falcon would strain to reach. Before Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams cast her as Rey — a desert scavenger from the planet Jakku who’s been fending for herself since childhood — Ridley’s résumé consisted of a few bit parts on British television. Even today, as she chats with us in a New York hotel restaurant just two weeks before the movie blasts into theaters on December 17, Ridley is still wrapping her head around her career’s jump to light-speed. She’s warm and engaged, frequently breaking into the joyous smile that has led many to compare her to Keira Knightley. By her own admission, she is a bit “terrified” of what’s to come, but she’s also determined not to get lost along the way. “How I am now, nothing’s going to change massively,” she says. “My best friends are still the same, my family’s still the same. Nothing like that is going to change. It might just be that people know what I look like, going forward.”

Oh, maybe a few hundred million people, give or take. No big deal.

Everyone has asked you how you got the part. But I’d like to know what you remember about the first audition — even just what was going through your mind when you went in to read?
“It’s definitely the most nervous I’ve ever been for an audition. And I was there an hour early, so I went to, like, sit in a coffee shop, and then I still got there half an hour early. I mean, I must have gone for a wee a million times. Then I’m pretty sure they told me to go away and come back, and I was like, Oh god! Just really nervous. It felt like a huge deal. And it’s funny, because Star Wars was not that huge in my life [growing up] at all. The whole way through, even though I was riddled with doubts and I felt like I wasn’t doing a good job in the auditions, I’d had this feeling that something was going to happen from it. So it’s that weird thing of both being driven on by something and being terrified by what that might mean.”

J.J. Abrams has said that he remembers seeing you in the waiting room and that you were “alight.”
“[Laughs] That’s not true. No, I was there, like, probably sweating. I was alight because I was almost on fire I was so hot. That’s kind of him to say.”

You recently saw The Force Awakens. Were you happy with your performance?
“No. No. No. Not that I’m not happy — it’s just very weird. It’s weirder than I ever could have imagined. I was talking to Harrison [Ford] yesterday, and he said he said he still doesn’t enjoy it, watching himself. He was saying, ‘It’s creative, so you enjoy the process, not the result.’ And I was like, yes! Obviously, to see the finished result and see everyone’s work that’s gone into this incredible thing — that’s amazing. But I’m looking forward to watching it again when I feel a bit more distant from it.”

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DAILY MAIL – Once upon a time, Daisy Ridley spent a Christmas working at a shopping mall, playing an elf. When she was upgraded – to a Princess! – she was over the moon. So imagine what she felt when she landed one of the top roles in the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens.

The 23-year-old London-born actress has pulled pints in pubs, worked in retail, appeared (hanging upside down) in a short film, travelled to Australia and New Zealand, and seems (apart from the upside-down film) to have both feet firmly planted on the ground. And she’s determined that the fantasy adventure epic that opens here on December 17 won’t change things.

To that end, Daisy said she’d received some helpful advice on how to stay real from an unexpected source. Emma Watson.

The pair went for a drink and some tortillas in Covent Garden recently, and Daisy asked Emma – who was just 11 when she was hurled into the public orbit when she made the first Harry Potter film – what to expect, and how to deal with it.

‘I asked her some stuff that I hadn’t been able to ask Harrison (Ford) and Carrie (Fisher),’ Daisy told me. ‘She said: “Be yourself!”’ We were out in Covent Garden, and it was so chill — and she was so sweet!’ Daisy said, of their meeting last month.

They talked about Emma’s work on the HeForShe equality campaign. ‘She’s doing amazing things,’ Daisy said. ‘And I am not.’

Well not yet, but give it time. Daisy believes eventually she will be able use the Force of Star Wars for good and ‘be able to have a voice’ — and to lend that voice to causes involving young women and self-esteem issues. ‘That’s something I’d really like to work with,’ she says.

But first things first. ‘I just really want to be an actress, and I don’t know if that’s a bad thing — just to be an actress. I would love to be able to do so many other things as well. But I’d love to have a great career as an actress.’

Soon after she started filming the movie for director J.J. Abrams, Daisy was signed up by a major Hollywood agency and taken on by the publicist who has guided Kate Winslet’s career for several years.

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